Hey y'all 👋🏼 Welcome to my first 'Meet Mel' blog post where I will be taking you behind the scenes of my multitasking life as a mom, business owner and fashion lover.
My goal with this blog is to share my journey through personal stories of successes and failures, give fashion tips and business advice and provide practical resources all in the hopes that I can inspire other designers, artists, and entrepreneurs to pursue their passion.
I wanted to start by answering a question I get asked all of the time,
How did you get into fashion and start Mel Boteri?
While I always dreamed of running my own business, I honestly never imagined it would be in fashion. I grew up loving and admiring the beauty, glitz and glamour of the industry, but I guess I never felt it was a practical way to earn a living. That all changed when I decided to go back to school and get my MBA at Emory's Goizueta Business School here in Atlanta.
I enrolled in the two year, full-time program and decided to use this time to explore and discover my true passion. You see, while I had a great experience with my first banking & finance gig out of undergrad (I attended UGA btw – Go Dawgs!!), I quickly learned that I did not want to spend my career behind a desk. I needed to find something where I could balance the very logical, business-oriented side of my mind with the creative and artistic side.
Wait, business school? How does that relate to fashion?
Luckily, my time at Emory presented me with some amazing opportunities and mentors that really helped catapult my career in fashion. For example, we were required to get a summer internship between our first and second year and I managed to land my dream job working with the Marketing & Business Development team for Zac Posen. This was my first real-world experience in the design space, and in New York nonetheless, and it opened my eyes to so many ideas and opportunities.
My marketing professor at the time was also instrumental in setting the stage for Mel Boteri, as he was in many ways a visionary who saw the future of customization and personalization. He planted the seed that would ultimately become Mel Boteri’s made-to-order business model.
And then my favorite two classes were, of course, centered around entrepreneurship and this is where I laid the groundwork for Mel Boteri, including writing the overall business and marketing plans.
If you don't have a formal education in fashion, where did you learn design?
It was during my last year at Emory where I also started teaching myself the process of designing and constructing handbags. I definitely made a lot of mistakes along the way, which I will share in subsequent posts, but it took about a year and half of planning and designing before I officially launched Mel Boteri with my first line of handbags in the fall of 2009.
As you can imagine, the business landscape looked completely different then from what it looks like now (social media was pretty much non-existent!) and so with that Mel Boteri has and will continue to grow and evolve as different opportunities present themselves.
Now I'd love to hear from you!
This blog is all about helping you and so I'll need your input along the way. What questions can I answer about fashion, design, business or even motherhood and juggling that amongst everything else? What specific resources are you looking for at the moment? What projects are you working on where you might feel stuck?
Please let me know by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Meet Mel' in the subject line. I will either answer your questions directly or address them here on the blog.
Thanks for following my journey and here are a few more ways to keep in touch: